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SportsTech is Changing the Way Teams and Their Fans Are Engaging

SportsTech is opening the door to new methods of communication that were previously unreachable. 

Ari Torv

SportsTech is disruptive.

But not in the traditional sense. Like all industries, the sports world is being entirely transformed by technology. Take for example the innovative partnership between the NFL and DraftKings, the popular Fantasy-Football league. The move helps provide some insight into the future of sports and the future of the fan experience. 

Jason Robins, cofounder and CEO of DraftKings stated at the “Forbes Under 30” Summit that tech and smartphones will continue to bring everything together digitally and “more and more [communications] will be personalized” to tailor the ultimate fan experience. In hindsight, changing and tailoring the fan experience to match today’s tech-savvy environment seems like a step in the right direction. But what does it mean for teams and broadcasters in terms of changing the way they deliver their plays or content? Well, it means they have to adjust, just like they have been doing throughout the entire lifetime of the industry. 


To be clear, we aren’t just talking about moving everything to digital and sharing endless content across social channels. Because, at the end of the day, what are likes on your posts really bringing to your organization? How are likes or retweets helping meet your business goals and objectives? This is where SportsTech comes into play. SportsTech capabilities, especially ones with AI solutions, can bring to its users the engagement that really matters. The type of engagement that will help said organizations actually identify who their fans are, behind the number of likes.

AI IN THE SPORTS INDUSTRY 

Let’s take for example the popular and widespread use of AI in SportsTech. Implementing an AI integration can be a great way for an organization to not only better engage with, but to also get to really know their fans. Their preferences, their buying habits, and more. Here is a great example with an infographic on how an AI integration, or service, can help tell a fans story, journey, likes and spending habits better than previously done before. While an AI integration might seem like an impersonal and robotic way of engagement, it's actually the latter. AI integrations can actually help in improving the customer experience, both in the moment and in the future when season tickets go live or special merch is up for last minute grabs. In today’s fast-moving world, these integrations provide less of a wait time, which we now know leas users exiting a site or app at a high rate. A survey done by Oracle, stated that 80% of marketers plan to start using AI in some way or another by 2020. Brands are investing in improving the customer experience through AI-based solutions, and it makes sense. By 2025, it is estimated that the AI market will reach a staggering $1.25 billion.

The use of AI within the sports industry is dominating more than just fan engagement and communication. How could it now? The use of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in Soccer and Football has not only helped referees during games, but is also helping the game on a general level. Technologies like VAR are putting eyes on the field in places where referees are unable to see and/or be. In addition, it's helping them evaluate and decide in the fairest and most neutral way possible. Which should provide some comfort to the die-hard fans who often yell "You Suck!" to the referees. 

In addition, and probably one of the most important factors, AI is helping athletes measure their performance and can offer analysis tools and real-time data on player performance. But that discussion is for another time.

ALL IN ALL

Today, there are AI solutions that are more personal, authentic and organic. They can help build and foster relationships between organizations and their audiences and fans, while simultaneously helping in the effort of driving and achieving sales goals and objectives. While the overall integration of using an AI integration might seem intimidating, just remember how far we have come throughout the technology revolution where at one point Facebook seemed intimidating to use.

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